Approximately 60-80 unaccompanied immigrant children are currently being held by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) in a facility in downtown Los Angeles. These children’s asylum cases are backlogged in part because of lack of psychological evaluations needed as part of the legal proceedings. Marc Sadoff, LCSW, has teamed up with a coalition of immigration attorneys whose goal it is to develop a pool of licensed clinicians willing to do pro bono and low-fee psychological evaluations to help these children.
Marc will be offering the training in March in the form of three 90-minute live webinars that will prepare clinicians to do this rewarding work, followed by additional mentoring during the actual writing of the evaluations.
Not only is this a tremendous opportunity for clinicians to make a difference in the lives of immigrant children in our own community, it is also an opportunity for therapists to expand their practice area of knowledge and expertise. In addition to these unaccompanied child immigrants, other immigrant survivors of domestic violence, victims of human trafficking, and torture also need our profession’s help to get asylum.
Below, Marc discusses his participation in this coalition and the training he is offering:
Marc Sadoff, LCSW
My name is Marc Sadoff, LCSW, and I’ve conducted 110 psychological evaluations for immigrants facing deportation. When I saw the crisis on the border with children coming who are fleeing the hell-world of parts of Central America I decided to train a pool of clinicians willing to do pro bono and low bono (low fee) evaluations. The 3 webinars in March is my response to tyranny and injustice in the world. There is a mood of exclusion and a lack of empathy in the U.S. recently. This work is concrete activism, which only we professionals can provide. I hope you’ll join me! See link at the bottom to be notified.
Dr. David Gangsei and I received the EMDR training in 1992. In 1997 he asked me to join an agency without walls, at the time, called the Program for Torture Victims, Los Angeles. My first thoughts were about the challenge and learning opportunity, to apply my new EMDR skills with torture victims. The director of PTV, Dr. Jose Quiroga, reset my goals in our first training when he said,
“These clients are usually not ready for treatment. There is too much uncertainty about their immigration status. The best treatment for them is to conduct a good evaluation and to testify persuasively in asylum court.”
From 1997-2002 I worked with the Program For Torture Victims at pro bono and low fee rates. I started doing this work without regard to how much money I made. My motivation was to be of service to asylum seekers who had been tortured. My work with clients, my colleagues, and my increased sense of competency, connecting with clients, and testifying in federal court; was a gift to me that I could not have predicted. I gained a window into the wider world with an intimate experience of dozens of different cultures. The evaluations help protect defenseless people from the practices of: Boko Haram, Egyptian Gamaat violence on non-Muslims, Female Genital Mutilation, Honor killing declarations by men against their female family members, and violence committed on the basis of religious, sexual preference or gender, and political opinion. I also guided them toward mental health resources. The evaluations I wrote became my human rights activist response.
I was not simply an observer in these matters. Our reports and testimony were an important, sometimes critical, element of gaining asylum. I’ve since done 110 cases for immigrants and testified 60 times. Since leaving the Program for Torture Victims in 2002, I continue to work in private practice with these, and other populations. Some big law firms represent immigrants pro bono, who cannot afford an attorney. These firms, and some immigrant clients, can often pay the usual professional fees ranging from $100 to $200 an hour. It took 4-5 years of experience to develop a good reputation with attorneys. I’ve experienced the adage, “No good deed goes unrewarded.” The reward has been primarily emotional and spiritual. It also feels good that there can be a monetary recognition of the value of my contributions.
Our goal is to train and develop a pool of licensed clinicians willing to do pro bono and low fee psychological evaluations. The clients are unaccompanied child immigrants, immigrant victims of domestic violence, human trafficking other crime victims, and victims of torture, hardship, and abuse. In March 2017 I plan to offer three 90-minute webinars; that provide attendees with enough information and learning experiences to begin conducting evaluations. There will be follow-up consultation with me, or other mentors, available to support clinicians in all aspects of the work, from interviewing and report writing all the way through testifying if that is necessary.
Cost will be minimal and CEUs will be provided for LMFTs and LCSWs.
For further information: RealHope.com/psych-eval-webinar